Psalm 126, called a song of ascents, says “those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” The most splendid acts of God’s redeeming love sprout from the rubble of tragedy. Visiting Food for the Hungry (FH) programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda recently were beautiful examples and reminders of this truth.
In the DRC, civil war over the last 20 years left up to 5.4 million dead as a direct result of fighting, disease and malnutrition. In the province of South Kivu, a focus area for FH, 50 percent of children under age 5 suffer from stunting (Source: UNICEF).
Yet, in just one area where FH is implementing our USAID (United States Agency for International Development) Development Food Assistance Program, working with local community leaders, FH has converted 914 hectares of inarable valley land into productive fields (over seven times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC). This has brought sustainable crop production and livelihoods to over 13,000 households.
FH recently made a presentation to DRC government ministers and other key stakeholders in the capital of Kinshasa and is currently sharing these remarkable results with congressional and administration policy leaders in Washington, D.C. In a country that has seen much despair and tragedy, there is much hope.
Lucas Koach, FH’s Senior Policy Advisor and Anglican Priest, with Bishop Laurant Mbanda, FH International Board Co-Chair
Eleven years ago, I was ordained an Anglican priest under the auspices of the Anglican Province of Rwanda. As Rwanda was reeling from the fallout of the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan church has played a key role in helping to bring reconciliation to recover from that tragedy. Remarkably, the Rwandan church also has been assisting with church planting initiatives in the U.S.
I had the opportunity to receive the invitation of FH’s International Board of Directors Chairman, Bishop Laurant Mbanda, to preach at the Anglican Cathedral in the Shyira Diocese of Rwanda, the same diocese that helped send and ordain missionary bishops and priests to the U.S.
Quite literally, I am an ordained minister today because of the faithfulness of this very diocese. Being my first time to Rwanda and to the Cathedral, I was able to declare my profound thankfulness from “the son they never new.”
Transformation is Happening
With the help of faithful donors and prayer partners, FH is transforming the lives of the most vulnerable in the DRC, in Rwanda and around the world. The faithfulness of the church of Rwanda has blessed and transformed my life and has birthed my ministry among policy leaders in Washington and beyond. This kind of mutual transformation is our goal in FH. Development—true and dignified God-given development—cannot occur without it. And it was on perfect display for me most recently in DRC and Rwanda.
Let us always be inspired by the songs of the Lord’s triumphant joy that spring from tragedy.